Woman who lost sister to suicide speaks up to bring awareness

BOWLING GREEN, Ky. – The statistics of suicide are often ignored. Many families often talk about it only in hushed whispers because the pain is so deep.

News 40’s Morgan Hoover sat down and spoke with a family member who still gets emotional, even though she lost her sister 11 years ago.

“10 years later, 11 years later, it still gets me”

Rebecca Coursey is a big sister to a bubbly blonde, named Cara Lynn.

“We would stand outside giggling and talking and quote movie lines….we really didn’t see it coming.

Although seemingly happy and outgoing on the outside, Cara Lynn was battling something much darker on the inside.

“We didn’t see the pain she was in because she was a beautiful girl and newly married. She texted me and she said i’m not feeling good. I don’t know what I’m going to do..”

“So after that I called and texted her, but we couldn’t get a hold of her.”

Rebecca paused as she said the words that visibly hurt her heart. “She overdosed. She struggled for about two weeks and then had a stroke. When you get that call at 3 a.m., it’s rough…it’s really rough.”

Cara Lynn would have turned 37 last week, and like many people who have lost loved ones to suicide, Rebecca says she feels intense guilt.

“I could see the signs and I have a lot of guilt with that and I think a lot of survivors who have lost their family or friends, I think that’s one of things that go through is the guilt of why didn’t I see this or why didn’t I call 911.”

“At the time you don’t feel like it’s going to get better it feels like it’s going to be forever and you kind of feel like a burden to people and I think that’s one of the things people feel like they might be burdens but that’s not the case.”

“It’s a long term solution to a short term problem.”

Rebecca now uses Cara Lynn’s legacy to help others struggling with depression or suicidal thoughts.

“A year after that I woke up in the middle of the night and I just felt something pulling on my heart. I needed to do something. I couldn’t help her, I couldn’t save her but maybe I could help other people”

“Never give up hope and I know hope exists because I lived it.”

There is always hope and there is always help. Locally there are many organizations that can help you if you or a loved one is struggling with mental illness, depression or suicidal thoughts.

Rebecca is involved with the organization NAMI, that’s the National Alliance on Mental Illness, they hold weekly support groups .

There have also been a number of support systems created on WKU’s campus. Jay Gabbard is the Vice President of NAMI, he tells me that many college kids struggle with mental illness and many don’t always know how to ask for help or they believe there is a stigma tied to mental illness.

He says suicides on campus have increased, and to combat this, they started an on-campus support group for people struggling with thoughts of suicide.

If you or someone you know needs help there are several ways to reach out.

The National Suicide Hotline is 1-800-273-TALK. That will put you in touch with a local representative.

You can also reach out toLifeSkills, they offer mental health services, their number is 270-901-5000.